Written by: Andrea Marks-Joseph
July’s fantastic new releases mean you can get your Summer reading in full swing! These beach reads take you from a village in Canada, to a fictional superhero city, traveling all the way back in time to a Playboy Resort in the 80s.
Perhaps you’d like to be poolside reading about a pilot in the air dealing with a hostage situation of his family on the ground, celebrities involved in on-again off-again romantic entanglements for the gossip magazines, or a story where the Horror movie ‘Final Girl’ trope gets turned on its head.
If you’re looking for wholesome comfort, we recommend a heart-warming Memoir for dog lovers, a tea cafe novella where you’ll find your perfect brew and your perfect match, and the story of a girl who discovers she spent a spontaneous night with a K-pop star!
We’ve also got recommendations for a rom-com inspired by Schitt’s Creek, a thriller where a stay-at-home dad is approached for a mission to save a billion lives, and a delightful queer sequel to a superhero best-seller from last year. Let’s dive right in…
1. A Little Village Blend by 'Nathan Burgoine (July 1, Contemporary Romance)
Pride month has just ended, but every month is a good time to read and celebrate queer authors writing queer stories. ‘Nathan Burgoine’s latest meet-cute novella set in his fictional Canadian village combines the charms of working at a tea café, a know-it-all sister who reads tea leaves, and the struggle of falling for someone (in this case a tall, dark, grumpy soldier) who may not be his perfect match. “Is it worth steeping a here-and-now while waiting for the one-and-only?” Read A Little Village Blend to find out!
2. Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy (July 6, Historical Fiction)
Shoulder Season is a scandalous story set in the 1980s, following Sherri, who leaves home to get a job as a bunny at the Playboy Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The adventure widens her world to “the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll” the blurb tell us – and later, a “tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years of her life.” Intriguing to say the least!
3. Falling by T.J. Newman (July 6, Thriller)
The tagline of Falling is really just the beginning: “For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.” What if you were the pilot whose family is on the ground with kidnappers telling you that the only way to set them free is to crash the plane you’re flying? This fast-paced thriller is full of surprising twists and insights into modern airline protocol, using the perspectives of flight attendants, hostages, and even Influencers on board to navigate what is sure to be a must-read of the season.
4. The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements, Onjuli Datta (July 6, Contemporary Fiction)
The View Was Exhausting takes the popular fake-dating Romance trope to Hollywood, between a British Indian actress and a male socialite who is the son of a billionaire —whose on-again off-again staged relationship spans seven years where “their kisses start Twitter trends and their fights break the internet.” Early readers have remarked that the novel felt especially realistic because the depiction of women of colour includes double standards and issues of power and privilege. I’m looking forward to this refreshing look at how celebrities use the media to their advantage, and all the glitzy romantic escapades which make this a perfect escapist summer read.
5. London's Number One Dog-Walking Agency: A Memoir by Kate MacDougall (July 6, Memoir)
This charming memoir is a love letter to dogs! London's Number One Dog-Walking Agency is the true story of Kate, who quite spontaneously started a dog-walking agency, called it ‘London's Number One Dog Walking Agency’, and learned so much about business, life, and London in the process. “With sharp wit, delightful observations, and plenty of canine affection, Kate reveals her unique and unconventional coming-of-age story, as told through the dogs, and the London homes and neighborhoods they inhabit.”
6. The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (July 13, Horror, Thriller, Adult Fiction)
In horror movies, the “final girl” is the one who survives all the traumatic events of the film. The Final Girl Support Group is the answer to the question ‘What happens after the credits roll?’ Group therapy. For more than a decade, six final girls and a therapist have been meeting to discuss and deal with the horrific trauma they still suffer. Then one of the women misses a meeting and their worst fears are realized —someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece. But things are different this time: The final girls have each other. Dun dun dunnn!
7. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (July 13, Contemporary Romance)
Tessa Bailey’s latest is an opposites-attract, city-girl-moves-to-small-town, (literal) fish out of water rom-com inspired by the hit comedy Schitt’s Creek. It Happened One Summer stars Piper, a Hollywood socialite who is cut off from her wealthy family and has to move to a small fishing town, where she meets Brendan, a gruff local fisherman who falls for hard her and then proceeds to spoil her in all the ways he knows how. All talk of this book points to it being a sizzling summer romance!
8. XOXO by Axie Oh (July 13, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance)
Korean Romance is certainly having a moment in Young Adult novels! With the popularity of BTS, K-dramas, and the K-pop
movement skyrocketing, XOXO is certain to have fans and lovers of fan-fiction swooning. Cello prodigy Jenny spends one unforgettable, spontaneous night in LA with the mysterious Jaewoo …then he disappears. Months later, she lands in South Korea, and discovers that he is not only at the same academy she’s enrolled in, but a member of one of the biggest K-pop groups in the world!
9. Flash Fire (The Extraordinaries #2) by T.J. Klune (July 13, Young Adult, Fantasy)
The Extraordinaries was one of my favourite books of 2020 —a fun, queer, hilarious, Young Adult Fantasy novel that is also perfect for fan-fiction readers (the protagonist writes fan fiction about his superhero crush, and those stories form part of the book). It is a story that will make you laugh out loud and smile about the adorable best friends who fall in love. Flash Fire is the “explosive” sequel bringing new heroes into the fictional Nova City, which will undoubtedly be a delight.
10. Unthinkable by Brad Parks (July 27, Thriller, Suspense)
The brilliance of Unthinkable lies in the ‘this could be me’ of it all. A secret society approaches self-proclaimed nobody and stay-at-home dad Nate saying they have information indicating that his wife will be the cause of a monumental ‘mass casualty incident’, and he’s the only one who can stop her: “A billion people really could die, and Nate might be the only one who can save them. All he has to do is the unthinkable.” Is he being scammed? At every step of the way, more information comes to light that perhaps this group really does know what’s going to happen in the future. But the more convinced he is that they’re telling the truth, the more urgent and likely the need that he perform this unthinkable act to prevent it.